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winning ways series

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From caterpillar to
Susan came to me in a terrible state, crying most of the time. She had a job, which she had applied for with great enthusiasm. Everything about it appealed to her, and she thought she would be able to work to her strengths. Unfortunately, the stress of staying ahead of the job, juggling a busy home life and operating alongside someone with a very different working style meant Susan had totally lost sight of herself. Her self-esteem and self-confidence were rock bottom. Interestingly enough, she didn’t look like she wasn’t coping - but, although she looked fabulous, she was falling apart inside. When we are overwhelmed everything becomes a challenge. My tactic with Susan was to get her to tease out the big tangle of problems. To write them all down and look at ways of tackling them one at a time. We called solving the problems a project. Suddenly our work had a purpose, with a beginning and an end. Each challenge was graded with a level of difficulty rating - 10 is unbearable, 1 isn’t a problem at all. Then we set to, picking the challenges off one at a time. One of the main things causing Susan to be so frustrated was that her very best qualities were not being put to good use. With time spent on building her self-esteem she was able to approach her boss and explain in a calm way that she was unable to give of her best because of poor communication and poor organisation in the workplace. Susan also reviewed how she looked on her work colleague. We explored the reasons why this other person behaved the way she did, and looked to changing Susan’s attitude rather than expecting the colleague to change. Eventually, Susan decided to change her job but by that time was sure enough of herself to go for the kind of workplace where she would be able to contribute according to her skills. Life Coaching is about transformation, from caterpillar to butterfly. This might sound fanciful, but hold your opinion just for a minute. People come to coaching because they want to make changes in their lives. If people just want to wander round the mulberry bush a few times, only to be reassured that their problem really does have no solution, then I’m not the coach for them. I always assume that the only person you can change is yourself. When Viktor Frankl was imprisoned in a concentration camp and had literally everything taken away from him, he states that the only thing he had any control over was his own attitude.

Life Coach Jo Middlemiss believes that every challenge has a solution and that, ultimately, the only person you can change is yourself. If you feel ready for a transformation, read on...

butterfly

Read this
if you want to •work to your strengths •make changes in your life •find solutions
Sadly, we live in a competitive world. Our society values those who win the race, get to the top of the slippery pole of promotion, and elbow all difficulties out of the way in order to gain that elusive thing ‘success’. However, the winning ways that this column will be dedicated to are not necessarily those valued by the vast majority of society. In my work, both in the coaching and the counselling field, I endlessly meet people who would seem to be successful but are deeply unhappy because they eventually realise that, if success means living in a state of stress and pretence, staying ahead and not being themselves then, although it might look like winning, it feels like losing. Winners are people who recognise the boundless potential in themselves and others. They see themselves and anyone that they deal with as wonderfully unique. The most important thing to them is not achievement, but being honest enough to be yourself in all situations. As Shakespeare said in Hamlet, “This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

Managing director
I also believe that every challenge has a solution. It might not be the obvious one but there will be one and, through coaching, the client will find it. Through coaching, people can discover the rules and values that govern their lives. We all live by rules and values but, if you don’t actually know what they are, then someone else is running your life. Coaching helps you to be the managing director of your own life.

Once you decide to be a winner you can give up the energy loss that goes into putting on a performance. Winners need not fret about what other people are thinking about them. They know the difference between acting caring and being caring, acting the fool and being a fool. If they know something, they helpfully share it; if they don’t know something, they are not afraid to acknowledge that fact. Not hiding behind a mask frees up a winner to step into their own confidence. They have realistic views of their own strengths and weaknesses. They are prepared to listen to the opinions of others, but generally come up with their own considered judgement about how to behave. Winners do not play the victim role, nor do they blame others for the situation in which they find themselves. Wherever they are, they know deep down that they are their own bosses. Winners get their timing right. Their responses are appropriate. They know about and acknowledge their emotions as helpful signals. They love life and rejoice in their own and others’ achievements. They are brave in the face of setbacks and joyful about ordinary things. Even when the world seems a terrible place, winners do not see themselves as powerless. When Mother Teresa was challenged that her work was but a drop in the ocean, she quoted Armand Marquiset in reply: “The ocean is made up of drops.” A winner works to make the world a better place. My guiding principles when working with a client are firstly to believe in their unique magnificence, no matter who they are, and secondly to get them to believe that they only have to be better at being themselves. They are already fine and good enough, but limiting beliefs and behaviours may be holding them back. How can we apply these two ideas to this winning ways column? • To apply coaching techniques directly and specifically to the speech and language situation. • To recognise that speech and language therapists are people like everyone else. • Issues around promotions, interpersonal relationships, work / life balance, physical / mental / spiritual health can all be included plus a sharing of the trials which seem to be unique to the profession. I am learning about the huge range of your work through preliminary discussions with speech and language therapists. Your charges range from preschool infants to elderly people who have had a stroke. Your profession is sometimes misunderstood as just about speaking when in fact it is about effective communication. Other challenges you face include juggling caseloads, balancing work and life and even seemingly minor ones such as carrying equipment around. As I go through back issues of Speech & Language Therapy in Practice to read myself into the challenge of writing for it, I am impressed with the high level of ongoing professional development, not to mention the wide range of situations in which therapists might find themselves. Common to many of the articles is an emphasis on inclusion for all and “Valuing People”, but frustration can build when you feel your

SPEECH & LANGUAGE THERAPY IN PRACTICE WINTER 2003

here’s one I made earlier

Alison Roberts continues to generate low-cost ideas for flexible therapy activities.

“Here’s one I made earlier...”
employers don’t value you as much as you value your clients. In ‘Unlocking the voice’ (Steven et al, 2002), I also saw many parallels with coaching. In coaching we might say we are unlocking the voice and also the heart. As Dr Bernie Segal says in his wonderful book Love Medicine and Miracles, “...when you live in your heart magic happens.” “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat. “I don’t much care where -” said Alice. “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat. “ - so long as I get somewhere” Alice added as an explanation. (From ‘Alice in Wonderland’ by Lewis Carroll.) Jo Middlemiss is a qualified Life Coach with a background in education and relationship counselling, tel. 01356 648329, www.dreamzwork.co.uk.

Car logo pelmanism
Materials

“A variation of the traditional memory game, useful particularly for clients keen on cars.”
✔ Card. Index cards, or half-size index cards. Taskmaster’s blank cards would give a superior effect (£5.75 for 200, see www.taskmasteronline.co.uk). ✔ As many pictures of car logos as you can get your hands on. (Weekend newspaper colour supplements, or other car magazines are good sources.) ✔ Instead of car logos, you could use clothing logos (Nike, Adidas and so on), or small pictures of cosmetic items like nail varnish and shampoo, or the ever popular chocolate bars. In fact you can use anything that fits on your cards. Some supermarkets produce good photos of food and other items in their leaflet handouts, so this can provide another source of free pictures.

In practice (I)

1. Place the cards face up on the table. The number presented at a time is up to you, but I have found it best to start with three pairs to convey the idea, and then build up. (For some clients you may end up with as many as 15 pairs on the table.) Turn the cards over and muddle them up. 2. Turn two cards over. If they are a pair, the player keeps them. If not, turn them over again. 3. Play passes to the next person. The winner is the one with the most pairs.

References
Frankl, V. (1997) Man’s Search for Meaning. Simon & Schuster Inc. Siegel, B.S. (1998) Love, Medicine and Miracles: Lessons Learned about Self-Healing from a Surgeon’s Experience with Exceptional Patients. Perennial. Steven, L., Thompson, J. & Brown, D. (2002) Unlocking the voice. Speech & Language Therapy in Practice Autumn: 14-17.

1. Place just one of each of the card pairs (so that all the cards are different) face up on the table. The number presented at a time is up to you. I have found it best to start with three to convey the Learn or make a note of the car manufacturer idea, and then build up. corresponding to each logo, or write on the cards. 2. Turn the cards over and muddle them up. Take Stick one logo on each card. Note: you can vary the away one card, hide it, and turn the others face up level of difficulty in picture pairing, choosing to show again. The client must guess which one has gone. either identical images, or perhaps the logo on one 3. You could of course take away more than one card and an image of the car itself on the other. card at a time.

In practice (II) (a version of ‘Kim’s Game’)

Brawn

‘How I help people’ poster
Materials
✔ Paper ✔ Photocopier

“Useful for self-esteem building, also self / other awareness.”
• Use the hand image to make an insightful and esteem raising poster. Head the poster “How I help” or “As a friend I ... “ • Fill in a “quality” or two in each finger, or the Place your, or your client’s, hand on the platen of the palm. You may need to add white stickers if photocopier; close the lid and preferably cover with the palm is too dark on the photocopy. a white cloth to exclude daylight. Take a photocopy • Consider using the other copies for similar and then copy this several times once you are satisfied posters, such as “My strengths”, “My hobbies”, with the image. Older teenagers seem to like to “My favourite sports”. photocopy their own hands. (If you have any Health • For a group setting you could cut out the hands & Safety qualms about photocopying client’s hands and stick them onto a larger sheet as if reaching then you can draw around their hands instead.) for each other.

In practice

Reflections
• Do I know the rules and values governing my life? • Do I share what I know and acknowledge what I don’t? • Do I allow limiting beliefs and behaviours to hold me back?

Artistry

Would you like to: • Identify and achieve your dreams • Unlock your potential • Confront difficult decisions • Shake off restrictive behaviours and limiting beliefs • Gain and maintain mental and spiritual balance • Be aware of and use your talent? Our new series ‘Winning Ways’ with Personal Life Coach Jo Middlemiss aims to help you find out how you can be better at what you do, and better at being you. However, we need your help to gather material to make the issues - and their potential solutions - as realistic and relevant as possible for readers. Jo is therefore offering readers a confidential and complimentary half-hour telephone coaching session (for the cost only of your call). Although Winning Ways will be based on what is raised in the calls, you can be reassured that details will be altered so that it will not be possible to identify individuals.

Cooperation tin
Materials

“A useful activity early in the life of a speech and language therapy group for children. It illustrates the benefits of working with rather than against each other. The participants need to be roughly of equal strengths. The making of this item seems fiddly, but it is worth taking the time to produce something sturdy.”
✔ one round biscuit tin, approximately 20cm in diameter ✔ three 2-metre lengths of strong nylon cord. ✔ six rubber grommets, large enough for the cord to pass through ✔ treats! 1. Sit the participants in a circle on the floor, or around a table, with the tin in the centre. 2. Each person should hold a rope. 3. Place six treats in the tin - in a bag is a hygienic idea - and state that they may only take one treat, and that they may only do so when the tin touches them. (If your group has challenging behaviour, you may need to restrict the number to one treat at a 1. Drill six equally spaced holes around the side of time, and then top up after each turn.) the tin, about halfway down the side, the diameter 4. They are now allowed to pull on the ropes, but of the inner core of the grommets. they will soon find that the tin will only touch some2. Fit the grommets on the holes in the tin. one if everyone allows it to - that is, five people must 3. Tie the cords together in the middle, and thread slacken their ropes while one person pulls. the ends through the grommets. 4. Tie knots in the ends of the cords to form ‘handles’.

In practice

Brawn

CALL JO ON 01356 648329 (www.dreamzwork.co.uk).

Alison Roberts is a speech and language therapist at Ruskin Mill Further Education College in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire.

SPEECH & LANGUAGE THERAPY IN PRACTICE WINTER 2003